28. May 2011 09:18
As Executive Director of the Kids Gone Hunting Foundation I am blessed to know many kids who love hunting. These hunters may come in miniature size, but they often achieve mighty results. I am not just referring to the harvest of trophies. These kids exemplify the values of hunting, family traditions, respect for the resource and an understanding of the gift and privilege of the activity. Sadly, not all kids get to experience this and even some adults don't quite get it.
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies has released a white paper Benefits of Outdoor Skills to Health, Learning and Lifestyle: A Literature Review, documenting the contributions of outdoor skills and wildlife-related outdoor education to health, learning and lifestyle in general and fishing and hunting participation in particular.
Research into the benefits of outdoor skills education highlights the valuable contribution they make to personal health and wellbeing. When young people are able to connect with the outdoors regularly, the positive outcomes are profound. They are happier, healthier from the physical exercise, effects of attention-deficit disorder are reduced and they score higher on standardized tests when natural environments are integrated into school curricula.
Most conservation organizations offer some program targeted at getting kids involved in the outdoors. One in particular that I can highly recommend is the Outdoor Skills Youth Camp hosted by the Illinois Federation for Outdoor Resources. The camp is co-sponsored by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and NRA Foundation. It is held July 29-31 at the Lotus Group Camp, Coles Creek Recreation Area near Carlyle Lake, Carlyle, Illinois. The camp is open to boys and girls, ages 10-16 and is well chaperoned. Overnight accommodations and meals are included in the $50 registration fee. Campers will learn about fishing, archery, gun safety, horseback riding, wildlife ecology, field trials, trapping and shooting sports. Space is limited to the first 60 youth to sign up. For more information contact IFOR Vice President, Jim McFarlane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can't take a kid hunting this year, perhaps you can make a donation to sponsor a kid and send them on an adventure to a reputable conservation organization event.